Botanical Illustration & Hand Lettering For Beginners in Procreate | Yifat Fishman | Skillshare

Botanical Illustration & Hand Lettering For Beginners in Procreate

Yifat Fishman, INKfootprints | Art & Illustration

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8 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Basics

    • 3. Two Tone Leaves

    • 4. Vibrant Purple Blooms

    • 5. Delicate Lacy Leaves

    • 6. Textures and Shadows

    • 7. Hand Lettering, Assembling and Adjusting

    • 8. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

In this class you will learn to draw exquisite, vibrant and adjustable botanical art.

I will show you how to paint branching plants woven in with delicate flowers, all growing from your hand-drawn letters. We will be using essential techniques that you can easily apply to your art projects on your iPad in Procreate.

Using these methods you will be able to:

  • Create intricate art and manipulate your drawings. 
  • Adjust your illustration and move elements on the digital canvas.
  • Paint in a variety of techniques. 
  • Enhance your paintings with interesting textures. 
  • Draw with clipping masks. 
  • Utilize Alpha Lock in your creative flow.
  • Learn how to create shadows to complement your artwork. 
  • Easily change the colors of various elements in the illustration. 


We will break down the illustration process to small attainable steps, and cover all the basic techniques that you need to know in order to successfully illustrate in Procreate. 

  • You will see my way of working with layers.
  • I will show you what brushes I like to use.
  • I will walk you through my method of painting textures. 
  • You will learn to adjust and manipulate your illustrations. 
  • I will show you my hand-lettering calligraphy style and how I work it into my designs. 

You can use the project you create in this class on your social media accounts, gifting to friends and family, or upload to your favorite print on demand website.


This is a beginner-friendly class that advanced students will enjoy following. All you need to join the class is your iPad and stylus, and your imagination. Let’s get started, see you in class!


1. Introduction: Welcome, my name is Yifat I am an artist and illustrator. In this class, we'll be drawing exquisite vibrant and adjustable botanical art. We'll cover all the essential techniques that you need to know in order to draw with confidence on your iPad in procreate. Throughout this class, you will be learning how to paint a blending of leafing branches and delicate flowers, all growing from your hand drawn letters. This is a beginner friendly class that advanced students will enjoy following. I will walk you through the process with easy to follow steps. You learn how to paint in variety of techniques. Work with clipping masks in alpha log, create shadows. We'll see how we can adjust and transform our illustration to create variations of each piece we paint. Finally, we'll draw handmade letters, having a personal touch to the artwork with the unique calligraphy style. By the end of this class, you'll have beautiful artwork that you can share on social media or with friends. You can even print it out and hang on your wall. All you need to join this class is your iPad and stylists and your imagination. Grab your pencils and let's get started. 2. The Basics: We're going to start by quickly setting up a new canvas and adjusting our DPI. That's resolution. If you already know how to do this, feel free to skip this step. In the gallery, press the plus and then the plus underneath in the drop-down menu to set up a new canvas. I like to set up my canvas to 11 inch over 14 inch. It's a good ratio if you want to, later on print your illustrations. The next thing that we want to do is to set up the resolution, which is the DPI. Now 300 is a very good resolution for printing. The downside to that is that it will give us fewer layers to work with. I'd recommend setting up your DPI to 150 and that would give you a higher layer count to work with. Feel free to give your canvas a good name. We can move on to setting up our background color. Now let's set up the background color for our document in the Layer menu, pick the very bottom layer. For this illustration, I'm going to pick a very light, cool green. Here we can pick any color that we want as our background color for the entire painting. We can pinch and rotate the canvas to a wide view or a long portrait view, whichever works for you. We're already in, let's start drawing next. 3. Two Tone Leaves: I want to show you a very easy way to draw leaves. If you follow me, you'll get leaves that are pretty sophisticated but really easy to draw. I'm going to start by picking and dark green. I'm drawing a long, very simple shape. I'm going to fill up the shape we've colored by dragging and dropping a swatch of color into my leaf. Now let's repeat these steps with another leaf. I'm working with my smooth brush ban that you can download from the class resource. Okay, and now I want to move one of the leaves closer to the other. I'll pick the select tool from my action menu at the top, and I'm going to work with a freehand option, and kind of draw this dotted line all around the shape. Next I'm picking the arrow, which is the transform tool, and I can move and rotate the shape anyway I wanted. I have my two leaves ready and I'm going to just take this moment to make a few adjustments before I move on to the next step. Now I would like to draw another set of leaves and we're going to set up a new layer for them, and I'm going to pick a lighter color. I'd like to draw these leaves really nice and long, but you can draw rounder leaves whatever shape you want as long as you're consistent with the shape, with this two layers of leaves. For me, I really like to see the nice delicate point at the very end of the leaves, I think it's really nice. Next, let's add a new layer and set it up as a clipping mask. Here is what a clipping mask do, basically we have our drawing layer and we add another layer on top of it as our clipping mask, and that would be our mask layer. So we draw our main illustration at the bottom layer, at the mask layer we're going to draw our texture, and once we combine them together, we get the texture drawn all over our main illustration. Now the fun thing about clipping mask is that we can delete the layer mask, and when we delete the clipping mask, we can just get rid of the texture and repeat the steps until we're absolutely happy with our textured layer. That's what we're gonna do for these two sets of leaves. I'm going to get over to the brush menu and pick a good texture brush, and I'm going to use the bonobo chalk, It's already pre- loaded to procreate. I'm going to pick a lighter color to draw my texts or wave. Now that I'm drawing within my clipping mask layer, anything that I draw falls within the boundary of the layer below. I'm going to color just half of each leaf with the texture. If we take a quick look at our Layer menu, you can see that the texture is staying on the clipping mask just the way we wanted it. Next I'm going to make sure that my eraser in setup to the same bras that they used to draw my leafs. I'm going to delete half of the texture from each leaf. Next, let's head over to the Layer menu again and pick the leaf layer, not the texture layer and choose alpha log list time. Alpha log is the Quick Mask and we'll talk more about it later. What we're going to do next is add a darker color at the bottom part of the leaves. Don't these leaves look nice? Now let's repeat these steps for our darker set of leaves at the bottom of this miniature plan that we're creating here, so basically I'm going to repeat this steps like I did before. I'm going to let the music run for a bit, and then I'll come back to you with more explanations and we're going to add that walked with it. Okay my friends, so the first thing that I'm going to do is merge down my texture layer with my leaves, because I'm done drawing them and I'm going to make sure I don't have too many layers to work with. Now I think my lighter leaves are a bit too high and maybe I want to tilt them a little bit. I want to make sure that everything is sitting really well together before I move on. Next, and this is really an important step. I want you to group the leaves, so that you will have a group of leaves that create this one plant. The reason I'm doing that is because now I can move and edit the group of leaves as just one element, and I don't need to worry that I'm going to move these two sets of leaves and the offsets of leaf to another direction. They are one unit now. I can also duplicate it. I'm going to do that and work with the other group, move it down and flip it. Now I created a variation on my design. I'm actually going into this second plant and going to shift it a little bit and warp it a little bit to give it a slightly different shape. Since I kept my layers in my group, I can go to each individual layer and warp it and change it just a little bit. Now, don't go too far in this step because procreate will diminish the resolution when you keep editing and changing your original illustration. Be mindful to do this step just once. Now that we have our basic leaves ready, how are you going to move on to drawing our flowers next? 4. Vibrant Purple Blooms: Now that we learned how to draw basic leaves and used alpha log and clipping mask. We can move on to draw beautiful flowers. I want to remind you that if you have any questions about the art process or tools you're using, don't hesitate to reach out to me through the discussion board and I'll do my best to help you out. The other element that I would like to show you is how to create a very simple, but delicate flower. I think they're fairly easy to draw and I hope you can follow with your own design. I'm going to use again my smooth brush pen and I'm going to pick light purple for it. I'll start the brush on about 20 or 30 percent scale. This flower goes like this. Three petals, which are lighter in color and they're going to be at the bottom. On top of them I'm going to pick a darker shade, and again I'm going to draw three petals. Now I'm going to alpha log swiping right, and I'm going to head over to the sketching brushes and pick the bonobo chalk and bring in a very nice texture. Make sure you guys can see this. Now I'm going to add some texture to the bottom part of my flower, and the last thing that I'm going to do is have some fine lines for details. Let's pick the brush pen and I'm going to sample my heart purple which is the in-between color not that very light but not the most dark one. Draw these nice leaves, define the petals. That's the basic flower. Now, what I can do is duplicate this layer and shift it a little bit. I'm creating a variation of the design, using my shape I can also warp it if I want to. Let's bring it a bit closer that's another thing about I can do. Let's grab the original flower and again, I'm going to duplicate it and create another little variation over here. We have three flowers. I can merge them down on a single layer. Now I'm going to pick up a darker shade and I'm going to draw these very nice petals that are at the base of the flowers. The last thing that I will do is draw the flower stems. We want to create these very gentle lines. Another thing that I can do to vary the design is really play with some leaves. The next thing that we're going to be doing is use the same brush to draw leaves. Now the leaves that we're about to draw might look simple, but they're pretty intricate to draw and take some skill with your brush and pressure that you apply on your stylus. But they're going to add so much character to our complete design. Let's finish up with some small delicate buds and move on. 5. Delicate Lacy Leaves: So once again, I'm working with a brush pen and you can find it under calligraphy in procreate. I'm going to start by drawing a very gentle wavy line. I'll compliment it with another line to close the leaf. My brush is set up to pretty low. I think it's probably ten percent because we want the lines to be very delicate, not overly thin. We don't want to have a hair line kind of lines but we also don't want them to be too thick, so that they lose their delicacy. Now I know from experience that these kind of leaves may be a bit frustrating. They may seem simple when I draw them but you may want to give them a few tries before they come out really nice. So don't give up on them. Try, try again until you get them just right. Things that you want to pay attention to is your stylist pressure. You want to gradually release the pressure on your stylist to create thinner lines or press more when you want the lines to get thicker towards the end of the leaf. I want the overall appearance to be very airy and fresh and kind of open. Next, I want to draw a second leaf and make sure it's in a different color than the first leaf that I drew. I'm also drawing a different shape for this second leaf. When I draw an arc, procreate will try to help me out and it's going to auto correct me. Sometimes it's really helpful when you're trying to draw something really nice and more precise. It won't do that for the waving line though. Once again I'm going to draw these gentle veins that you'd see on a leaf. I want to make sure they don't really mirror each other on each side of the center half of the leaf. I want them to be slightly away from each other so that they won't be coming out off exactly the same point. I just think it's more interesting this way. Looking at my layer, I see that I accidentally drew both these leaves on the same layer and I made a mistake and I want to correct it. So basically, I want to separate these elements into two different layers. Because in order to later on edit my illustration, I need these leaves to be on two separate layers. I want to do this without harming my illustration. So let's see how I can do that. Let's pick the select tool and make sure I'm in freehand mode. Sliding three fingers on the canvas, will bring out this pop up menu that allows me to choose between cut, copy, cut and paste, copy and paste. I'm going to choose cut and paste. Which means that I'm going to cut it out of this layer and paste it into a new layer. A good practice is to give each layer a name because you'll end up eventually with lots of layers with random numbers on it. So I'm going to give one layer the name blue leaf and the other one is going to be white leaf. That will help me find them very quickly later on, when I want to do some adjustments. Now, I have two leaves and I want to position them in the best way next to each other. So I'm going to try out a few things and see what works best. So let's see what happens when I move the white leaf closer to the blue leaf. I think maybe if I'll flip the blue leaf they'll work nicely together. I mean, the way they kind of wave and wiggle around. So I think we're going to try that one now. I really like using the flip horizontally in the transform tool. Now the reason I'm using the stylist or one finger to move leave around is because when I use two fingers I'm going to pinch and change the ratio of the grid and I don't want to change the size of the leave right now. So I'm just using the stylist or one finger to slide the leaf across the canvas. The next thing I'm going to do is duplicate my group and create a variation. Once again I'm going to try out a few things before seeing what works best for me. I think it's going to work best if I added each layer separately. So let's try out making slight changes to the white leaf. This time around I really want to distort it very gently to create a variation on the original leaf. I want to try a few things and see what works best. All right, so we have these two groups ready. Next we're going to move on to drawing textures. We're going to do that as we draw a new element on our canvas. 6. Textures and Shadows: I love using textures in my illustration, and I wanted to show you a very simple way to do that. I'm drawing textures, really help enhance and make your illustration pop. But first we have to draw the actual element to which we're going to add texture, and I'm going to use my brush pen to draw a branch with these hefty leaves. The thing that I like about this shape of this branch is it's open up and branches out to different directions, and that brings in movement into my illustration. It's basically fairly easy to draw, we make sure all the lines meet up at the bottom, and when we draw the leaves, we are going to scale up the brush so that it's heavier than the setup we used for drawing the actual branch lines. I'm going to draw the leaves going up the branch, and as they meet up at the very top, I'm going to finish this up with a group of three leaves. Something to pay attention to, is that the leaves are not going to mirror each other from each side of the branch. I think it's more interesting when there are varying in sizes and shape and direction, so I'm going to speed this up until I finish this branch, and then I'm going to talk more about what brushes to use and what mask I'm going to use to create the textures. Two ways of bringing in textures is to draw directly on this layer by swiping right, and using alpha log. Another way to do that is to add a new layer and lock it down as a clipping mask. Other method will make sure that whatever you draw, the new layer or the layer mosque alpha log will fall exactly within the boundaries of the layer below, and that's the best way to bring in texture. My preferred method is usually working with alpha log because it just super quick, and it saves you on labor space. For this one, I'm going to show it and clipping mask because it will enable me to make more changes to the layer as I go. Because this is a new layer and I can always delete it, and rework my texture, so this is going to be my base layer and the other one is going to be my texture layer. How do we make a good texture brush? I'd say try a few and see what works best for your specific illustration. You can find a good texture brush within the charcoal or chalk and pastel brushes. I often fall back to the bonobo chalk, which is under the sketching brushes, but if I want a more rough texture, I might look elsewhere depending on the texture that you want to achieve, you might want to look into the paint brushes to find your textural brush. Like these few samples, they're all paint brushes, but they give you excellent texture as well. For this illustration, I'm actually going to go over to elements and pick the clouds brash, and the clouds brush is available on any version of procreate that you may be using. If you look through procreate, you'll see that there are lots of great brushes that are already preloaded into the app. Some people would prefer to buy brush packages from beautiful winds that are available out there, and you can go ahead and do that. I'm going to pick a lighter color to style out my textures, since my base layer is in purple, I'm going to pick a lighter pink to bring in my texture. As I draw, I bring the texture very likely in it's not actually like painting in color. If you want to be working very lightly and be all over the place when you bring in texture, and change the colors to create variations in the textures. Let's try maybe a warmer color, which is still pretty light, and draw another layer of color on top of this. Now the thing with drawing in textures, you want the colors to work well together, so since I picked a light pink, I'm going next to this brown, and make sure they work well together. If I want a variation, I may pick a darker color for the base of the stem because that's when the shadows are going to fall in an actual plant, so I'm going to work with a darker blue and then I'll add a darker purple to enhance my stand. If you have a combination of cool colors that counts from the lower section of the color wheel, and one colors that come from colors close to the reds and the orange and yellows, you're going to have a very interesting color combination at the end. I'm going to add the very light orange to spice up my color palettes, because it seemed to be a two down, and I really love how this is all working together. Basically, colors are something that you need to like, if you don't like them, change them pick another color, and next, I feel like I want to add another lighter color, but maybe from the cool part of the color wheel, so may have about the very light blue, because it ties in with the purples. This is part of the thing that I like about textures, is how everything eventually has to work well together, that it needs to work nicely for you will feel that it works well together. Now that you have the texture layer ready, you can choose to edit the colors and change the brightness, or the tone of the textural layer, or if you're happy with the result, go ahead and merge down the texture layer with a layer below. Next we're going to duplicate the layer and used layer at the bottom to create the shadow. I'll shift the layer slightly to the side and edit the colors. I'm going to lower the brightness, and lower the saturation, and I'll try to play with the use to see if I can reach a more cooler tones. Next we're going to head over to the layer opacity bar and slightly down until the layer is transparent than blends in with the background, and this is how you create shadows from your illustration. Next we're going to bring everything together and draw a hand lettering. 7. Hand Lettering, Assembling and Adjusting: Now that we have all the separate layers with our elements, we want to bring it all in and what we're going to do next is do hand-drawn calligraphy, which I'm super excited about. Then we're going to combine everything together, shift and reposition, and create our beautiful design. I'm going to use my smooth brush pen to draw my calligraphy and I've set it up to pretty high about, I'm guessing 40-50 percent of the scale up. Now, as I draw my letters, if I don't like something, I can always undo it by tapping two fingers on the screen and redoing it and sometimes Procreate will try to help you out in building the nice curve to your letters. You can use that too. I'm drawing in a freehand style and I'm following a font typeface that I like and you can have it in front of you on a piece of paper or in a novice screen, get inspired by the shapes to create your own freestyle letters or just come up with whatever you have in your mind. Now this is really not looking good and I'm going to retry it. Let's do this again. Now what I like about doing this freestyle calligraphy is that you can add stuff like these three lines above my g, they give it a vibe, a burst of energy. I think it's really fun way to draw letters. Now I do try to be consistent with my shapes so I'm drawing in the b in "vibes" in the same way that I drew the d in "good". When you're drawing in letters, try to be consistent with the design that you set up for yourself. I think this looks pretty good and let's start bringing in all the elements and create the design. We're going to bring each element and edit and transform and adjust it, pretty much the same way as we did for each class video sections. Only this time around, we want to make sure that everything works really nicely together. I'm going to start with my green leaves and what I want to do is make sure that they peek out from underneath my text. I want to make sure I position each group of leaves where the base is connected to the letter that it sits underneath. The next element that I want to work with is my branches and there are very big and they add a lot of character to my design. I want to reposition them in the background and make sure that they grow out from under a letter. I'm going to slightly transform and move them until they sit nicely under the letter B. I think I'll go back to them later on because I'm not done with that element. Let's move on to the flowers. First, I'm going to duplicate my flower layer. Now, I would like to see my flowers growing from out of my letters. I want to find a very good place for the stem to come out of. I may need to transform this stem a little bit so that the flower will fit within the letter that I've chosen for it and while I do that, I try not to distort my illustration. This time around, I'm bringing in the entire stem, but I might want to create the shorter version for the rest of the design. Thing that I'm paying attention to is where my flower is growing and what parts of the letter the flowers are covering. I want to make sure that the buds are covering a little bit of the g and that the flowers are covering the top of the g and bloom out of the top part of the g. These are all very little adjustments that I want to pay attention to when I add my flowers. My next flower stem is going to come out of the other side of my text. I'm going to check out a few placement for it and see which one suits best. I like how the flower is growing from the e while at the top part, it's also covering parts of the word "good", so it helps tie in the design. Let's move on and place another stem of flowers. Now, since the flowers are the most prominent element of my design, they are up at the front I'm making sure that they grow all over the place. I'll say my design have four corners. I want to make sure I have flowers on all four corners. This flower stem is going to grow from the V and it might need to be shorter. A quick way to remove a part that you don't want to use is just to select it and slide it out of the canvas. Of course, you can use your eraser for the same purpose, but I think selecting and removing is just much quicker. Now that I have what remained of my flower, I can place it exactly where I want it to be. Once again, I'll make sure that it interacts with the other elements of my design. Looking good so far. What shall we do next? I think we're going to add more branches because they take the backdrop of the illustration, they fill up the space really nicely. I'm going to duplicate my branches, and flip them, and create the slightly different version. I really like using the flip vertical or flip horizontal and even the rotate 45 degrees options because they give me more control over the type of transformation that I do. With that, I think we are neglecting our lacey leaves so let's find a good place for them in the illustration. I talked about the four corners of my design and this is going to go in the left corner. I can always go into the layers and place one of those leaves underneath the letters and one of the leaves on top of the letters. Now, my other set of leaves can actually relate to the s's curve and it can be a slightly smaller. This time I'm going to go in and slide the blue leaf underneath the letter. We definitely need some more flowers, so I'm going to duplicate my smaller flower layer. I can just bring it underneath my text, and position it where I want it instead of erasing the parts that are covering the letters. All that's left is to flip it horizontally, and find a good position for this small flower stem that works well with my lacy delicate leaves and the letter S. With that my friend, the process is all done and my illustration is ready. I would like to give you a second look at this whole process through a screencast. I'll let the music play and I'll meet you at the other side for the final words. 8. Final Thoughts: Thanks for joining me today. I really hope that you learned all the essential techniques that you need to draw with confidence on your own, on your iPad and that you can carry all the techniques that we covered in class to your next project. Speaking about project, please share your creations on our class project board. It really helps all the other students in class to see what everybody else is doing and it helps everybody to grow as artist when we share our artwork. Don't be shy. There is a little green button on the right side of the screen or share your project, upload it, write something about what you did. I'm very excited and looking forward to see what you create in this class. Thanks for joining me today and I'm looking forward to seeing your project and to see you in my next class.